Black College Students in Texas Rally to Protect Their Voting Rights

The March 4 Democratic primary in Texas is shaping up to be an important contest to decide whether Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will be the party’s nominee. In recent primaries Obama has won between 80 percent and 90 percent of the black vote. Therefore, Obama supporters in Texas are looking to turn out large numbers of black voters.

In past elections, students at Prairie View A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Texas, have had difficulty casting their votes in Waller County. Officials claimed that students at the university were ineligible to vote in the county unless their permanent homes were located there. The courts disagreed. But in 2006 hundreds of students at the university were turned away from the polls because election officials had declined to add them to the voter rolls.

In January the Waller County Commission said that it would open only one “early voting” polling place in the county which is more than seven miles from campus. It had earlier said there would be six sites, including one adjacent to the Prairie View campus. After students planned a massive march and the U.S. Justice Department questioned the reductions of early voting sites, the county commission added three early voting polling places including one in Prairie View.